Mental Health bill: Stakeholders urge join efforts in implementation

Mental Health bill: Stakeholders urge join efforts in implementation

Stakeholders have called for joint efforts to ensure implementation of the mental health bill, as only through its implementation can mental health services, and funding among others improve in Nigeria.

They spoke at the third Jemila Abubakar Memorial Essay (JAME) Award ceremony and investiture of 15 patrons and 9 special ambassadors of the Asido Foundation held at the International Conference Centre Ibadan.

In her Keynote address, Director, The Vale College Ibadan, Mrs Funso Adegbola, commended Asido foundation for contributing immensely to mental health advocacy in Nigeria adding that mental health must be a priority for all individuals and society at large.

Mrs Adegbola said that there is no health without mental health and for the mental health bill to be fully implemented, everyone must become champions to advocate and create awareness on the new bill.

In his Chairman’s remarks, the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Mr Adebayo Lawal represented by his wife, Mrs Ajibike Lawal extolled the virtues of the late Jemila Abubakar and urged individuals, the youths in particular, to develop their passion to impact their world positively.

While commended Asido foundation for its advocacy work in demystifying all the stigmas associated with mental illness, the Co-chairman at the event, a professor of medicine and Neurology, Adesola Ogunniyi said it was important to unravelling the myths and misconceptions about medicine, particularly mental health.

“I feel we should embrace the idea of making mental health something we should not be ashamed of for individuals that we need to help,” Ogunniyi said.

Also, Prof. Oye Gureje, in an interview, speaking on the mental health act said “We need to try and get the government to implement the law. This particular law commits the government to not just provide human resources but also financial resources, in terms of implementation.

“And you know anything that does that usually in Nigeria, gets relegated to the background. I have my concern that this is not what the government will implement quickly except we continue with the pressure that has been going on for years, a lot of work still needs to be done,” Gureje said.

Earlier, the Founder of the Asido Foundation, Dr Jibril Abdulmalik said there was an 80 per cent treatment gap in persons with mental health adding that misconception and stigmatisation of the illness have not helped in proper medical treatment of the illness.

He identified human rights abuses of affected persons such as Shame, Stigma and Discrimination and declared that the JAME award of excellence was to celebrate the legacy of its pioneer program manager who served selflessly.

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